ROANOKE, Va. – Residents at the Friendship Health & Living Community in Roanoke were quick to be affectionate with their new feline companions Monday morning.
“They’re nice to play with," said resident Mary Elizabeth. "They’re soft.”
“Oh, love it. Love it, love it, love it," resident Edwina Abbott said.
They look, feel, act and sound like real cats -- but they’re actually robots, and made specifically for seniors.
The cats were a purrr-fect surprise for Abbott. She didn’t think she was going to have a Christmas this year.
“I can’t smile, but it’ll smile," Abbott said, smiling and holding up one of the cats.
Almost as soon as the cats were delivered, she took one of them around to show to other residents, all the while coming up with a plan to spend as much time with the cat herself as possible.
“'You already came up with a hiding spot for him?' Abbott was asked. "Yeah, but I’m not going to tell you,” she said, laughing.
After learning about the cats, 11-year-olds Connor and Bibiana Bell, whose mother works at the Friendship Health & Living Community, raised enough money by selling some of their toys to buy two cats.
“Every year, we go caroling around the units, especially around the memory care unit, and I wanted to do something for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Bibiana said.
“It made me feel happy, like we achieved our goal,” Connor said.
Friendship Health & Living’s CEO said he is proud of the kids and said this is what the holiday season is all about.